Marijuana arrests in the United States declined in 2008 -- the first such drop since 2002 -- according to figures released by the FBI today.
The November Coalition Drug War protester at Huntington Beach, Calif.
In 2003, when Marijuana arrests reached what was then a record total of
755,186, pot use was admitted by 40.6 percent of Americans 12 and older. Five years later, in 2008, that figure was 41 percent,
meaning more than 102 million Americans are willing to tell government
survey-takers that they had smoked pot.
executive director Rob Kampia was happy with the reduced number of pot
arrests. "This slight dip in the number of Marijuana arrests provides a
small amount of relief to the tens of millions of American Marijuana
consumers who have been under attack by their own government for decades," Kampia said. "It's time to stop wasting billions of tax dollars
criminalizing responsible Americans for using a substance that's safer
than alcohol, and put an end to policies that simply hand this massive
consumer market to unregulated criminals."
drug policy experts bemoaned the disconnect between popular acceptance
of pot and legal sanctions against it. "There's a kind of schizophrenia
going on with Marijuana policy," Tony Newman, a spokesman for the Drug Policy Alliance (which pushes for legalization) told am New York. "There's all these people questioning our policies on the one hand and there's still record numbers of Marijuana arrests."